Monday, 10 August 2015

Phillip Henson RIP

My dear friend,
          I am so very sorry you didn’t get the last few months they promised you. Trish says you are at peace now and I hope that really is the case.
          I enjoyed the time we all spent together though such times were too few. Others might not understand but we both had similar thoughts on many things. We were well on our way to being the greatest of friends.
          I will miss your jokes and your portly persona. Never again will we meet up on the river and share a beer or two. I remember you introduced me to scallops October 2009 when I was on boat-about down the Thames and we hooked up at Desbourgh.
          I felt very much a part of your circle of friends when you invited me to your house while I was moored at Walton.
I am truly honoured that you wanted me to have the Waterman and I will cherish it.
          If there is an after life I feel sure we will meet up and sink a few beers together once again! It was an honour to pass time in your company, I shall remember Teddington with you and Trish last year fondly. I am glad we had that time.

goodbye dear friend.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Stag Night

It’s Friday and the quiet has gone. Our pleasant idyllic evenings have abated for the weekend and been replaced with the raucous rasp of inebriated stags each trying to out do the other in volume, whilst relating stories that only they think are funny and most think are untrue, unless they themselves were present at the event. Many an alcohol laden breath speaks of exploits past, of dangers long since filed in the ‘great day’ file in their booze sodden brains.

Like the day they were naked in the town fountain, or when they drove across a roundabout at the top of the main road leaving town for London, and left a hole through the bushes. “Another tray of shots please barman”, came a voice from a table across from the bar.

Mechanical laughter impregnates the walls and glues itself to the beams only to fall later as dust to the floor around us and seep into the grain of the oak boards never to be heard again. Slowly the evening's noise reaches a crescendo of deafening proportions. At it’s peak it levels for a while and then staggers, step by step, to a more moderate cacophony. Still finding its way to small peaks on its way to the end of the evening, but it never falls to a comfortable level until the door is shut. With the doors finally closed their noise dies out as they disappear along the tow path.

Back on the boat more laughter spills out on to the canal and bounces along disturbing only the light sleepers close by. The moon has fallen from the sky and the ISS passes overhead. One by one the revellers fall into bed and the boat falls silent save for the occasional banging of the hull against the concrete piling as everyone seems to turn in their beds at the same time gently rocking the boat.

Monday, 10 February 2014


It was a strange day. The sun forgot to shine and the clouds hugged the hilltops. It was coloured grey. Lucy sat in the window looking out wishing she could be outside in the garden. As she watched, a breeze blew a balloon over the fence. It settled in the middle of the lawn and gently rocked back and forth in the wind. Lucy used to have a balloon but it popped. She had loved that balloon, it was bright pink with a fairy princess on it. She had been very sad when she popped it. She did manage to keep one piece of it the piece with the fairy princess, but it was very small. Looking out of the window Lucy longed to be in the garden playing with the balloon. It wasn’t her favourite colour but it was a balloon and that was important. Lucy asked her mummy if she could go outside in the garden and play. Mummy said, “No!”

Lucy started to cry, “But mummy . . . . . sob . . . . . .sob.”

“When I say no I mean no!” said an angry mummy.

Lucy sobbed harder watching the balloon swaying to and fro in the garden. Not wanting to miss out she climbed down off the chair by the window and crept out into the kitchen. She opened the door very quietly and stepped outside As the door closed the rain started gently falling

Lucy ran across the patio and on to the lawn towards the balloon. Suddenly next doors cat came on to the lawn and he was heading to the balloon. It was a race! Who would get there first. Lucy ran like she had never run before. The cat sensing that Lucy wanted the balloon ran faster too. At the last second as it looked like the cat would get there first Lucy dived on to the balloon to stop the cat popping it with it’s claws. Can you guess what happened?

Lucy landed on the balloon. POP! The cat landed on Lucy and frightened by the loud POP! Leapt up into the air again and came down running. In doing this the cat got caught up in Lucy’s hair and was tangled tight, he couldn’t escape.

Lucy screamed because the balloon popped and the tangled cat was tugging at her hair and it hurt.

Lucy’s mommy came out when she heard the noise. Seeing the cat on Lucy’s head she thought the cat was attacking Lucy. She tried to shoo the cat away but that only made the cat struggle harder and Lucy scream more.

Lucy’s mum calmed down and saw exactly what the trouble was. She soothed the cat which helped to stop Lucy screaming and she was able to untangle the cat from Lucy’s hair. Lucy stopped crying but there was blood in her hair where the cat had scratched head with his sharp claws.

Lucy’s mummy was very cross with Lucy. Why do you think that was? Taking Lucy in the house her mummy cuddled her and then cleaned the wounds with special wipes to stop the scratches getting infected. Mummy told Lucy that she should never be disobedient again. “Remember,” she said, “When I say no, I mean No! it for a very good reason.” Lucy listened to her mummy. She looked a sorry sight! Lucy said she would never disobey her mother again.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A different life

My name was Colin. I lived a life of conflict both in my working life and my private life. I was always the hard bastard, the guy people wanted to fight in a pub. I suppose that’s why I joined the military. If I was going to fight I wanted to be paid, the Army paid me! They didn’t know what hit them. Even the SAS struggled to control me.

That is why people were surprised when I told them. The conflict in my private life had been there as long as I can remember. Despite the fighting, the boozing and the womanizing I was in turmoil. I was fighting the world and his cousin because it was a good cover for the real reason. Inside - I was fighting me! The drugs were just another problem only less so.

The Army used me as long as they could cope with the hassle then they cast me adrift when the time was right. It was a sniper bullet that broke my leg and I was never able to get back to full fitness. I suppose I was lucky the leg didn’t come off.

I was angry I tried to fight back but I fought the wrong people. I stole from the local drug dealers, not a good idea. I pushed my friends away and my family further still. I was me and I was not going to let go. I trampled over everyone. I killed (the Army taught me well) one local baddie who want to put me down. When the police came one night I put three of them in hospital. There was an element of danger in everything I did. I didn’t care what others wanted they were just in the way so they got trampled.

It would only change if I fessed up to who I was. I started to change my style, slowly changing my complete wardrobe. The fighting stopped the ridicule I didn’t look hard in my new clothes but if anyone said a word they would go home with their nose spread across their face. The longer I was in my new clothes the softer I got. Slowly the fighting stopped. I could still fight, but I didn’t like to. It was hard to fight in heels.

My name is now Clarissa. I went to see a councellor about my situation, she spoke about gender reallocation. I was happy in my new wardrobe but gender reallocation was not for me. I need to get away. A new life could be found if I got away.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Jesus remember me

Jesus remember me when I’m all alone
Jesus remember me when I’m far from home.

O-O-OH O-O-OH Remember me
O-O-OH Remember me

Jesus remember me when I am in danger
Jesus remember me when I when I face immortal foe


Jesus remember me as the sun begins to fall
Jesus remember me when in darkness you I call


Jesus remember me when I’m by your side
Jesus remember me at the final eventide


Jesus remember me when I come into your Kingdom
Jesus remember me when I come into your Glory

O-O-OH O-O-OH Remember me
O-O-OH Remember me
Repeat Chorus

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Deja vu

This is another of the songs I wrote when I was in the church

I was nailed up next to Jesus and there, before my eyes
A roman soldier speared him, and much to my surprise
His blood it flowed quite freely and then I saw the sign
Above his head a notice that would stand the test of time

The crowd around the spectacle the mocked him and they jeered
They didn’t know the power he’d have all throughout these years
The man they nailed up to the cross who bought us all good news
Was the undisputed leader the king of all the Jews

I looked at him and in his eyes the soul of all mankind
Why couldn’t these people see this they really must be blind
And quietly as he hung there these words he spoke for you
“Father please forgive them for they know not what they do”

My heart filled with emotion and deep love for this man
If I could be there with him do you really think I can?
I said, “Lord please forgive me for all the wrong I’ve done.
He said “I’ll have a place for you beside my fathers throne

And a light came from the heavens and the father of that man
Said, “Come up here beside me and join the son of man
All bathed in light the angels sang glory to the lord
And all around I saw them there was a heavenly hoard

There was Abraham and Moses and David up on high
Saints and sinners all of them around them glorified
Then somewhere in the distance a rumbling was heard
And Jesus Christ our saviour was there to give the word

He said he’d take the sinners and pardon every one
If only they believed in him , well he was God’s only son
The people all around him sang glory to his name
They sang the very praise of him life never would be the same.

And suddenly this wonderment for all its heavenly guise
Slipped into the distance as I opened up my eyes
I heard the keys a clanking as they opened up the door
And suddenly I realised just what they came here for

Today I go to Calvary to pay there for my crimes
And the horror rose inside of me as I longed for better times
The dragged me to the courtyard and whipped me to the floor
And all that pain and suffering I couldn’t take ant more

I could hear the people  shouting at the man who’d just been led
And very soon that wretched man would oh so soon be dead
I put a shoulder under the wooden cross that was there
With my last remaining energy I raised it in the air

I stumbled through the crowd that stood outside the gate
Those people didn’t know me but they cursed me with their hate
I knew I wouldn’t be alive next time the sun went down
I carried the cross upon my back to a hill outside of town

I was nailed up next to Jesus and there, before my eyes
A roman soldier speared him, and much to my surprise
His blood it flowed quite freely and then I saw the sign
Above his head a notice that would stand the test of time

The king of all the Jews
The king of all the Jews
Praise to the Lord
Praise to the Lord

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


I am not a great one for the church though I used to go regularly. I was in my late thirties when I joined the church band and started writing songs, this was one of them. It was a favourite among the band members.











Friday, 11 October 2013

Just Like You

Last year I heard about the International Day of the Girl then I wrote this.


I am human just like you.

I laugh just like you.

I cry just like you.

I can read just like you.

I can walk just like you.

I smile at the sun just like you.

I have dreams just like you.

I have needs just like you.

I have desires just like you

I do most things just like you.

Just like you I have sex.

Except, I’m only 10, so not like you at all.

Help me!


International Day of the Girl is here again.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

What's that all about?

I don’t have the art work for my book much less a publisher yet here I am sitting in the pub writing the follow-up.

What's that all about?


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Diane Cook

          Has it really been fifty years since I last saw Diane Cook? She was a lovely girl. My memories are quite clear. We were eleven. She had bobbed hair and the cutest smile. I was in love. She lived at No 2 Oxford Close, which was a cul-de-sac just off Cambridge Road. We were in the same class at Sherwood Park Primary. I don’t know when she came there but I was always at that school. The girl’s school uniform was a green jumper and grey pleated skirt she looked good in that. I kissed her as often as I could, which means while no one else was there to watch. She said she didn’t mind me kissing her but not to be too rough. I would hold her hand and carry her school bag to the crossroads where I went left and she straight on.
          I was once invited to tea at her house. I was overjoyed. As you turn into Oxford Close, it was the first house on the right hand side. It was a very nice house, with leaded bay windows. Her parents were middle class. I remember there was a garage at the bottom of the garden. I was invited to help with a nature project, Diane had found an abandoned nest, that of a blackbird, in a bush in the back alley. She wanted me to blow the eggs. She would then have this nest and eggs in her room with other exhibits. I don’t really remember tea.
           I don’t remember how much I saw of her after that, but at the end of the school term we never saw each other again. She went to the Girls Grammar and I to the Secondary modern. I did speak to her on the phone once, I was about fifteen, but nothing came of it. I bet she would have made a great ‘dolly bird’ in the sixties. A few years ago I made contact with an old secondary school chum, John Challis. He remembers her in her late teens. She was a friend of his now wife.
          Despite the life I have had I long for those days when I had no cares in the world and my idea of sexual excess was stolen kisses. Diane was my first love. I probably don’t remember all the details but the images in my head never fail to excite the eleven-year-old boy in me when I recall those early days. Good times!
          I would love to see who she became, what she achieved.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Will I Ever Learn

Well back in nineteen sixty-nine I got married and things went fine
And I couldn’t wait to go home to my wife at night.
But after just one year, well I’d cry into my beer
Cause I didn’t wanna to go home and that ain’t right.

Well when seven years were gone I kinda struck out on my own
I couldn’t stand her moaning all the time
Ya’ see I had lots of pay and she would spend it every day
And all the bills she ran up I do decline.

Well I spent some time on my own while I built up my new home
It was a struggle I don’t mind telling you.
Then I met a pretty girl in her hair she had a curl.
Boy I was sold and married number two

Well we had some fun for a time, but then I laid it on the line
Get off your ass and go and get some work.
Well she rode off on her horse and got herself a divorce of course
And all the lady left me was my shirt.

Now I’m on my own again its been eight years maybe ten
And I got plans to stay here on my own
It’s taken me a while but my house is filled with style.
And this time I’ll be hangin’ on to my home.

Now don’t she look a pretty gal maybe I am ready now
I hope my luck will change around about here
Hey lady I would like to see if you could be my number three
Come on over and have yourself a beer.

(Stop playing and say )

Will I ever learn
Hell no its all part of the growin’

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Slow Down

Out on the highway four hundred miles a day
Looking for a night stop so I can go inside an’ play
There in the distance through the trees I saw a light
And then I saw a sign that said “Stop here for the night”

Slow down, pull in over there
Slow down, find yourself a chair
Slow down, have a beer or three
This is the best-darned night stop that you will ever see.

I stepped down from my truck and moved on through the door
An’ dancing there in front of me, in the middle of the floor
The cutest little red haired babe that you will ever see
I gave her the eye and she was standing next to me.

Slow down, this could take all night
Slow down, this girl would do alright
Slow down why don’t I have another beer
I’m gonna start a party and it starts right here.

While I was dancing and giving her a hug
We were sliding on the floor going chug-a-lug-lug
Her voice was deep, she had stubble on her face
Man Oh man what a terrible mistake

Slow down put it in reverse.
Slow down she’s in a different universe.
Slow down she was a part-time male nurse
I feel so bad someone please call me a hearse

Slow down, slow down, slow down . . . . . (to fade)

Chord sequence

Out on the highway four hundred miles a day
Looking for a night stop so I can go inside an' play
There in the distance through the trees I saw a light
E                                                                             A
And then I saw a sign that said “Stop here for the night"

Slow down, pull in over there
Slow down, find yourself a chair
Slow down, have a beer or three
E                                                                               A
This is the best-darned night stop that you will ever see

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Lock

                                                                               clink clack, clink clack, clink clack

                                                                               It’s a sound boaters know well

                                                                               as they draw the paddle

                                                                                to let the water run out

                                                                                let the boat come in.

                                                                                Drop the paddle

                                          Only ten locks today in thirty miles

                                         Then twenty eight in ten miles

                                          Blistering work these locks

                                          Relentless and tiring

                                          Walking one to

                                           the next

Tread the path leading the horse

It’s a never ending day

onwards and up

then down



Friday, 31 May 2013

He didn’t do it!

It was only a short walk to his house. What could happen? As it happens a lot. A man ran out of a shop followed by another, very angry. The first man ran across the road and was hit by a car. He was hurtled in the air and landed on our man. The follower attacked our man, who was unconscious, believing him to be the perpetrator. Police arrested him and despite his injuries and carted him off to jail. To cut a long story short, today he was leaving jail after serving four years for something he didn’t do.

100 words

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The MAN (song lyric)

The sun is slowly setting beneath the darkening sky.
The moon grows ever brighter, did you ever wonder why?
The stars shine in the distance of the early evening sky.
And the sea rolls on along the sloping shore.

And it seems to be a part of a great and glorious plan
But the earth lies here in danger from the endeavours of the man

Don’t you know the world is dying, can’t you see the signs.
It’s oh so easy to shut it from our minds.
Ask yourself the questions, find the answers if you can.
Why do all children starve at the hand of the man?
In the cities all the people seem to live in fear.
Things are getting worse year after year.
Some old girl is beaten within an inch of her life.
Why did the man give the man a knife?

Guns and bombs and flying machines are the tools of the war.
Killing people wholesale is that what men are for.
Murder rape and pillaging armed robbery and cheats.
Laser guided missiles exploding with white heat.
Tell me the answers if you think you can.
Why is the man inhuman to the man?

Thursday, 23 May 2013


Anytime you walk
Beside the river
Carefully watch
Down along the waters
Edge you will
Hurriedly jumping
In the grass
June bugs hide
Keeping dry under
Leaves out of the way of
Munching predators
Noisily searching
Out their lunch
Periwinkles reflect the
Quiet sun
Radiating way up in the
Sky bathing the
Utterly oblivious to
Xed the
Zebra crossing.

Just a minute

It takes a minute for sixty seconds to tick by. One by one the sweep of the second hand passes each mark. Now it’s 5, Falling towards 10. Relentlessly onward never stopping. 15 never ceasing on it’s way around the clock face. This is the easy bit. 20 working towards the nadir 25 and then 30. On the upward path now 35 dragging on upwards to 40. 3/4 of the way now and it has reached 45. It is harder on this section 50. The zenith now in sight 55. Tick, tick, tick,60 at last and on we go 5


(100 words)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Diesel Bug

Short Magazine article
The EU are proposing an end to olive oil dipping dishes in restaurants for our protection. We already have laws (in this country) that cover any harm that might be done by bad hygiene practice.

What we don’t seem to have is a law that prevents Cladosporium Resinae (diesel bug) cross contaminating fuel tanks. Is your supplier supplying you good fuel or contaminated fuel? Does he know? Does he care? Has his delivery nozzle been in a tank that is contaminated before you arrived? Does he care enough to clean his nozzle after each delivery? Can you check that the fuel you are given is bug free?

The simple answer is that all suppliers should be compelled to treat their supplies. Whether that be producers main suppliers or retailers is for the clever people to work out. It cost about thirteen pound to treat 2500 litres that’s less than half a penny a litre. Fuel tax could be reduced by half a penny a litre to ensure that suppliers do this cost free. It is easier (more accurate) to treat 2500 litres than it is to treat 10, 20, 30 or even 100 litres. The %age error is far smaller. As of yet it is not know if under-treatment is effective or if over treatment is in some way damaging to engines.

Rather than some boaters and some retailers treating their supplies it would make sense for all suppliers to treat their fuel. That way we know that all fuel tanks are treated properly and the possibility of cross contamination is reduced to an absolute minimum or even zero.

Why should all suppliers be required to treat their supplies and not boaters. Well boaters are a varied bunch of individuals who have their own Ideas about where they will spend their money. Some will, some won’t treat their tanks. No amount of legislation will make Joe Bloggs treat the fuel going into his tank if he doesn’t want to. To check that his tank had been treated before a fuel nozzle is put in his tank will be cost prohibitive. I rest my case.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

My Day

It was five o’clock in the morning when I awoke. What a stupid time to get up, I thought. So I made a cuppa and went back to bed. I read yesterdays Telegraph, finished the crossword. Completed the Suduko then read some of my book. The tea went straight through me and as I stood in bathroom draining it away I thought how badly the bathrom needed a clean. A layer of Talcum powder lay on all surfaces, dulling the sheen that they normally have. It was still early, before seven, I decided to clean the bathroom.
In the corner was a pile of dirty washing. I took it next door and put it in the machine. Looking around the office, which was where the washing machine was kept, I thought, I really must put in some work there too. Back in the bathroom the task looked daunting. I went to the kitchen to get the cleaning stuff from under the kitchen sink. Looking around it occurred to me I had let my standards fall, as low as a dosser. I took cloths and cleaning stuff passing through the bedroom. I wondered why my bed had evolved into a clean clothes and book storage area. The cupboards were virtually empty. Why did I find it so difficult to put the clean laundry away?
I cleaned the walls above the gunnels; brushing of the dust and spraying on wax polish returning the wood to somewhere near its former glory. Toilet pan, sink and then shower followed by the lower walls then finally the floor. The whole task only took an hour, which surprised me although the room was only six feet by six feet.
Time for a quick cuppa, then on with the rest. Having an untidy space has an unhealthy effect on one’s psyche. It brings you down and makes you depressed. It makes for a very sad self. I walked back to the bathroom and was pleased with the result. This spurred me on to do more of my home. As you work on from one end to the other the euphoria builds, but towards the end you start to flag and the office never gets done. So now as always I have a nice clean living area, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, but I am left with a very untidy office, as is the norm. Maybe I should start with the office next time.

The Boat

From high on the hill the scene across the valley was one of rolling countryside. Fields of wheat and barley broken up by hedgerows of hawthorn and of hazel. Dry stone walls along the lanes butting up to houses at the outskirts of the village. Tall stands of pine on a hill on the other side of the great divide, a tarmac road skirting its edge and disappearing down behind the hill. Away down the slope to the left a meadow leading on to a copse of birch trees. In the corner a hump back bridge over a canal, the canal winding its way around a hummock and following a similar path to the stream. A fairly typical English country scene.

Down at the canal bridge just short of a willow whose fronds are touching the dank muddy water moors a laden narrowboat. A figure is standing on the bridge, head in hands.

Through the side hatch of the boat a pool of blood is forming on the floor, a man makes gurgling sounds as the lifeblood drains from the deep gash in the side of his neck. The figure on the bridge, a woman sobbing, drops a knife over the parapet into the water. The life of a working boating family is a hard one, made all the more difficult by the by a brutal man. Her face once more damaged and swollen by the hands of the man she once loved. Her tears fell freely, she sobbed. Though she knew what she had done she was not sorry for him. Whatever the outcome now her life could not be worse than the last ten years.